New speed limits approved for frontage roads

Jan 16, 2014

The Greenville City Council voted this week to approve new speed limits along the Interstate 30 frontage roads in the city.

 Tuesday’s decision was not unanimous, and it was the third time the council was set to consider the multiple speed limits recommended by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

The issue had been tabled twice before, awaiting a chance for the council to hear from a TxDOT representative directly. The council met with TxDOT’s Darium Samuels earlier in the day Tuesday.

Mayor Steve Reid, who was among those casting a dissenting vote, said he was troubled by the fact that motorists will have to navigate several different zones along the frontage roads, if they intended to drive from one end of the city to the other.

 “I just wish we could approve a uniform speed limit,” Reid said.

 City Attorney Daniel Ray said the council didn’t have to approve TxDOT’s recommendation.

 “You certainly have the power to take a motion and change this,” Ray said. “That’s just going to throw it back in their court.”

 By voting down the proposed limits, Ray explained, TxDOT would likely conduct another study and there was no guarantee the results would be any different.

 “That obviously is something that doesn’t happen very often,” he said.

 City Manager Massoud Ebrahim told the council he had received a notice from TxDOT, indicating the agency had completed a new speed study along the frontage roads, which revealed motorists weren’t driving the limits adopted by the City of Greenville more than two decades ago.

 TxDOT proposed that on the Interstate 30 north service road, starting at the west city limits, the speed limit should be 60 miles per hour for the first mile, 45 miles per hour for the next 3.6 miles, and 50 miles per hour for the next 3.38 miles past the Sabine River and to the east city limits.

 On the Interstate 30 south service road, starting at the west city limits, TxDOT is proposing 60 miles per hour for the first 1.123 miles, 55 miles per hour for the next 2.91 miles, 45 miles per hour for the next .769 of a mile, 55 miles per hour for the next 1.021 miles to the Sabine River and 50 miles per hour for the next 1.65 miles to the east city limits.

 The study called for setting speed limits based on what 80 percent of motorists were driving in a given area.

 Other factors, such as how the frontage roads are now one-way and have been widened from two to three lanes in some locations, also played a part in the new limits.

 “It appears what they are trying to do is make the speeds what they feel are reasonably prudent,” said Council member Dan Perkins, who made the motion to approve the limits.

 The measure passed on a 5-2 vote of the council.